By Kyle Petersen

Unicyclists: why do they have so much appeal? What is it that makes riding a unicycle so sexy? Dubé Juggling is here with a list of the 10 most eligible unicyclists. Did your favorite unicyclist make the cut? Let us know in the comments below.

By Kyle Petersen

NYC Uni Fest!

There are many great reasons to ride a unicycle. It’s great aerobic exercise (have you ever seen a fat unicyclist?) It’s a lot less expensive and has fewer unnecessary parts than a bicycle (what the heck is a derailleur, anyway?) And it’s a great way to attract potential love interests (ok, I made that one up).

Unicycles have been featured on talk shows (Leno, Letterman), cartoons (SpongeBob SquarePants), and have been ridden by peace makers (Peter Tosh) and war makers (Donald Rumsfeld).

The best reason, however, to ride a unicycle these days is the upcoming New York City Unicycle Festival!

That’s right, the first-ever New York City Unicycle Festival is taking the Big Apple by storm this Labor Day weekend. The event lasts from Friday the 3rd through Sunday the 5th, and has three distinct locations.

Sept. 3rd – Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has declared September 3rd Unicycle Day in Brooklyn, and the mono-wheelers plan on making their presence felt in the Borough of Kings. The Brooklyn segment of the festival will feature a long-distance ride from Brooklyn Bridge to Coney Island. Organizers recommend at participants wear helmets and use 26 inch wheels or larger. Participants will arrive in Coney Island by 6 pm where there will be free riding, fireworks, and activities to be announced. Best yet, the first 40 registered participants will get a free ride on the famous Deno’s Wonder Wheel on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Sept. 4th – Governors Island

Governors Island is one of New York City’s unique treasures. A former military instillation with many historic buildings, the island is now open as a public park every weekend in the summer. The festival begins at noon on Governors Island and runs until 5pm. Planned activities include a massive ride around the island, unicycle basketball, hockey, races, prizes, a group photo, and an outstanding demonstration from the legendary King Charles Troupe.

Sept. 5th – Grant’s Tomb

The burial place of Civil War General and Former President Ulysses S. Grant is also the home of the New York Unicycle Club. Participants  will meet at 1pm at Grant’s Tomb for a four-hour free riding session. Street parking is available.

Additional information can be found at the New York City Unicycle Festival website. Look forward to seeing you there!

By Kyle Petersen

Kyle executing a wheel walk

Photo by Jill Chernin

When I mention to people that I ride a unicycle, the usual response is disbelief. “I could never do that”, many people respond, “I would bust my…”

A unicycle is really just a bicycle, stripped down to only the most necessary components. There are no gears, there is no derailleur, no brakes, no handlebars and most importantly, no front wheel. Because virtually all unicycles are fixed gear, unicyclists cannot coast the same way a bicyclist would. You cannot “ride” the unicycle, you must “drive” the unicycle. The unicycle and the unicyclist must act in harmony to maintain equilibrium. It is the perfect union of man (or woman) and machine.

My first foray into the world of monowheeling came on my 12th birthday. I was an avid BMX bicyclist, and I had read that learning to ride a unicycle would help me improve my BMX skills. After hastily assembling my $80 unicycle, I stepped out of my New Jersey home one December morning confident that I would instantly hop on and ride down the street. I stepped up with one foot…

…and met the ground. This wasn’t going to be as easy as I hoped, but I stayed at it. After two days, I could go a few feet. After three days, I could go across the driveway. After a week, I could go most of the way down the street. After a month I could go around the block.

Thirteen years and half-a-dozen unicycles later, and I’m still at it. I perform and make a living on a unicycle. I teach unicycle. I ride unicycle for fun and for exercise. I commute to work on my unicycle. Needless to say, unicycle is a huge part of my life.

The beauty of unicycle is that all you need is a one-wheeler, a little determination, and some guts. I’ve seen children as young as 10 and adults in their 60s learn to ride. It’s never too early or too late to start!

Click here to view our full line of unicycles.

By Kyle Petersen

New Unicycles

Our new line of Nimbus unicycles!

With the New York City Unicycle Festival fast approaching, we thought this would be a good time to revamp our lineup of one-wheeled options. Dubé Juggling is proud to announce our new line of Nimbus unicycles! But first, a brief history…

The modern unicycle was born from the penny-farthing bicycle sometime during the late 1800s. Penny-farthings were a very difficult and extremely dangerous. The rider would sit high atop an over-sized front wheel, and iff the penny-farthing were to slow down or stop suddenly, the rider would often flip over the handlebars, leading to devastating injuries. Along the line, someone realized that the rear wheel didn’t serve much of a purpose, and removed it altogether. Thus, the modern unicycle was born.

For many years after, unicycling was considered the realm of circus performers, clowns, vaudevillians and carnies. In recent years, however, the unicycle community has expanded. Sports and activities such as mountain unicycling (mUni), trials (similar to BMX), unicycle basketball and distance riding have all attracted a dedicated and diverse following.

In recognition of unicycling’s growing popularity, Dubé Juggling is proud to announce an expanded line of unicycles. The Nimbus Club is an excellent and affordable option for beginners. Our new Nimbus II unicycles are a durable option for beginner and intermediate unicyclists alike. The Nimbus Signature Trials is super rugged ride designed for extreme cycling, but is also a good option for any intermediate to advanced cyclist. Finally, the Performer Convertible Giraffe Unicycle is the perfect unicycle for the variety performer on the go.

By Kyle Petersen

It’s only natural to combine the circus arts with sports. Both require extreme competitiveness. Both require unbelievable physical dexterity, determination and focus. Here’s a peek at our favorite circus sports games:

Combat is a juggling fest classic. The rules are simple: everyone juggles and tries to knock the clubs out of their competitor’s hands. Last one still juggling wins. I haven’t played combat since Sean Blue nearly gave me a concussion…

Unicycle is a skill that lends itself to combination tricks. If people can juggle or jump rope on a unicycle, why not dribble a basketball? The Puerto Rico All-Stars Unicycle Basketball Team is one of the best in the world.

Volley club is a sport that has been increasing in popularity in recent years. The rules are similar to volleyball, but totally different. Instead of hitting a ball, competitors throw juggling clubs back and forth, all while maintaining a cascade pattern.

Do you have a favorite circus sport not mentioned above? Please, let us know about it!

By Kyle Petersen

Four riders, five boroughs, forty-two miles, all on one wheel.

Sunday, May 2nd, was the 33rd-annual Five Borough Bike Tour. Among the more than 32,000 cycling enthusiasts were Keith Nelson, Rob Hickman, Jason Kahn and myself, who rode the length of the tour on unicycles.

A mild morning quickly gave way to a hot-and-muggy afternoon, and the four of us struggled to stay hydrated. Jason, an 8th grade science teacher, was a useful guy to have around, as he came prepared with all types of anti-dehydration and anti-cramping remedies. If I ever get stranded on a desert island, I want to have Jason there.

Along the way, we ran into Ray Hoffman, an accomplished juggler and long-time Dubé customer, near his home in Astoria, Queens. Ray took some video of us, and gave us some much needed water as we headed to my home borough of Brooklyn.

Upon arriving in Brooklyn, we stopped at Rob’s apartment in Williamsburg to refill our water and to use the bathroom. Rob’s son is a 10-year-old unicycle enthusiast. He pleaded with his father to let him participate on unicycle in the 2011 bike tour. Rob’s response was “we’ll see…” After inhaling clementines and water, we were back on our way.

At this point, the four of us were experiencing varying degrees of dehydration and fatigue. I neglected to wear sunblock, which proved to be a costly mistake. The last quarter of the race was something of a blur. Riding down the Brooklyn Queens Expressway was completely surreal. I have many memories of being stuck in never-ending traffic jams on this stretch of highway. The lack of shade and the heat from the asphalt made the last quarter of the ride extremely challenging.

Maggie Russo

Exiting the BQE was a huge relief. The cool breeze from the Atlantic Ocean was a god-send, as temperatures were in the 80’s and humidity was unseasonably high. Even more exhilarating, however, was the opportunity to ride across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Not only did we forgo the ridiculous $11 toll to cross the bridge, we also got to enjoy some breath-taking views of Upper New York Bay. The finish line was at Fort Wadsworth, in the shadow of the Verrazano.

I dedicated my ride to Maggie Russo. Maggie is a toddler with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye. She was my inspiration, and kept me going when dehydration and fatigue began to get the better of me. Please visit http://www.maggiesfund.net or http://www.retinoblastoma.net/ to help.

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